This year, AICR is trying something different at our Annual Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer next week. Something we hope will act as a clarion call for cancer researcher and health professionals.
We’ve all gone to conferences where the social media engagement is limited to attendees being encouraged to tweet their experiences. But at a breakfast session first thing in the morning on November 8th, AICR is hosting a special panel to discuss how scientists can engage in meaningful conversations with the public using social media.
There is an urgent need for responsible, evidence-based cancer information in social media, and unfortunately this need, in many cases, is now being met by self-appointed health “gurus” who make unverifiable or patently false claims. Now is the time for informed, rational voices to enter the furious ongoing discussion. We must provide context and sober, well-informed resources and information.
Social media gives scientists and practitioners with a means of sharing their work and engaging in a meaningful two-way discussion with a wider audience. Continue reading
Are you ever in a hunt for something in the grocery store, say a new energy bar, and find yourself choosing the bar whose box is emptier? A recent study published in the journal Appetite suggests that you are not alone: we may be more influenced by the food choices of those around us, than we are aware.
The study included a series of tests that focused on how common it is for people to conform to the eating habits of others, both directly and indirectly.
To begin one experiment, the researchers used a group of 144 people at a local bakery. They placed a bowl of individually wrapped chocolate candies near the ordering counter for customers to take at their leisure. About half of the customers entered the bakery when wrappers were left in the bowl and the other customers visited when there were no wrappers left in the bowl. The customers who passed the ordering counter saw an empty bowl next to the bowl of candy; the other customers saw a bowl with empty wrappers next to the bowl of candy.
How many different eating patterns – or types of diet – can you name?
I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), where I was invited to speak about the research on dietary patterns and the practical take-home messages that stem from that research. AACVPR is a multidisciplinary group of health professionals who help people recover following a heart attack, heart surgery or chronic respiratory disease.
Just as in studies of diet and cancer risk, research related to heart disease increasingly emphasizes that it’s not individual nutrients or even specific foods, but overall eating patterns that make a key difference. Conference attendees included physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists and dietitians. All hear patient questions about the Mediterranean diet, vegan diet, DASH diet and more, including confusion over headlines that identify each of these as “best”.
So what’s the best diet? I was speaking to a room so over-filled with health professionals wanting to hear about this that conference organizers set up a “satellite room” for the overflow. Continue reading